I am thankful for March. I am thankful for March even though the snow keeps falling, and the sub-zero wind chills keep blowing, and the full moons won’t quit their impact on the labor floor, and my hatred for treadmill running persists. I am thankful for March because it means that we are even closer to winter’s end, that we’ve sprung forward, and that perhaps that jump forward in time will jump right on over all that went wrong in February.
Over chai, I’d admit that February felt fucked up. Consistently, things that should have been easy, were difficult. VBACs that proceeded without difficulty until the very last moment. Grand multips with incredibly slow labors. My taxes. Inter- and intra- family communication. Human resources conversations. Life planning. Dog-food buying and allergies. Friend contact. Difficult and “barriered” communication with women about their long-term health with untreated and repeat STI infections. And the list goes on. Thank goodness that month is over.
Likely spilling my tea all over the place in remembrance, I’d share that February was fumbling. I started at a new hospital, and in many ways felt that my skills and confidence regressed back into my timid student years. When I was a student, I struggled with taking control of situations, being the lead midwife and experiencing that with a more experienced midwife in the room. I only started to feel my confidence and control with preceptors who would sit back, not glove during births, and not jump to answer a woman’s question, and then fully developed my ‘midwife confidence’ when I was on my own, and now do not struggle with an inability to take control as an independent midwife. But then, I fell right back into the secondary, quiet role when orienting at this new hospital. Each of my new colleague midwives, (I am sure) in a role of support and love, stood right next to me during care and births, and ultimately took control when I felt myself falter next to them. In the presence of such midwifery experience and knowledge, I could not stop myself from questioning my instinct, my experience, my knowledge. Only one more day of orientation until I am off on my own in this setting.
Breathing in and out, I’d express that February felt fulfilling. I was able to write more often than I have been able to in a while, and churned out a few emotional posts that you all responded to with support and love – thank you.
So now, March. Many great things have happened already in my little stratosphere, and I hope it is the same for you.
I had a lovely, long discussion with a writer for Parenting about delayed cord clamping, and a few snippets of our chat are featured in this article. I was sure to point out the long-term brilliance of Judith Mercer, PhD, CNM, FACNM on this topic, brilliance which was on the scene well before any MDs started making noise about it. I am proud to work alongside her, from afar, and to bring up her name to me also feels like I bring up a power within midwifery, and that brought strength to my conversations about our work.
Over chai, we would swoon over the opening of a birth center and abortion clinic in one. I feel like this is such a beacon of hope and success and truth for the reproductive justice community, and I am proud to be doing this work in the same world as that intention. It gives me hope for my own daily practice and future steps. I wish Dr. Morrison all the best, and cannot wait to see the team of people (including, hopefully, midwives!?!) who work with her.
We watched House of Cards Season 2 in 48 hours. Boom.
I was approved for transfer to a new clinic within my organization. Now, I won’t be dividing my time between two very different parts of the city, different patient groups, different support staff, or different collaborating providers. The new clinic is closer to the hospital where I work, hopefully the women will choose to come there with me, it is one clinic full-time, and with a collaborating provider with whom I feel comfortable working. Not to mention it’s so close to my house that I can bike back and forth. Big breath in, a deep and cleansing breath out.
Yoga. That is all.
ACOG and SMFM came out with this fabulous consensus document about preventing the primary cesarean delivery, in which it discusses less interventive care, patience in changing labor curves, and support for vaginal delivery of multiple gestation pregnancies. What an incredible step in the right direction.
We went to see Paul Simon and Sting in concert. Graceland happens to be one of my favorite albums of all time, and Paul sang a lot of it. I think he could hear me singing with him. Diamonds, Julio, Graceland, Boxer, Lafayette, Bridge, Al, Late in the evening. I was in musical heaven.
I finished my Surgical First Assistant course, the same week that I assisted at my first surgical birth. Both amazing experiences! Looking forward to learning more as the months continue!
I have come to terms with the fact that my job does not meet all of my professional desires, namely in support of women’s full range of choice. I still want to keep working where I do, but realize that to feel fulfilled, I will need to supplement. I am looking into ways to be more involved in full-spectrum reproductive healthcare in Chicago, and will keep you posted!
In March, I am seeking patience, and presence, and power, and I wish you the same. Thinking of you all out there in the reproductive justice world, and am grateful for such a community.
As we finish, I would ask about your general feelings about February. Does your assessment begin with similar ‘f’ words? Have you jumped into March with both feet? Who in your community are you proud to be working alongside, even from afar? On this 13th day, what has already been great about the month in your personal and professional life? What do you wish for yourself and others in these next weeks? How are you seeking to make yourself feel whole in the parts that you know are unfulfilled?
Also, I’d like to take a piece of this space to thank those who have emailed me individually, commented on Facebook or Twitter, messaged me privately, or reached out via text to give me support over these past few months. In this world of blogging, it often feels like I am alone, and despite whatever impressions people have about my presence in the midwife community, blogging still feels like a small, quiet, alone space. So, thank you. I appreciate it so much to have the friends and community through this space. I recently read a blog post by Kate Northrup on this very topic, and I echo her suggestion: “When you feel moved, praise.” I will be making an effort in these months to praise fellow bloggers, because I also am guilty of doing this very little. So, in speaking for all of us in the online community, “When you feel moved, praise.”
See you next month!